Flushing Wipes Will Clog Your Drains
In recent years, the trend of adults using 'flushable' wipes has hit a peak. For over a hundred years, regular old toilet paper was a perfectly acceptable way to keep sanitary, in the bathroom, but all of a sudden, many people find themselves feeling unclean, without using these relatively new products.
Allowing people to feel better about their hygiene may seem harmless, but the impact of these wipes is devastating the sewer systems of the world.
While marketed as 'flushable', the truth about these sanitary wipes is that they don't break down in water. Hours, days, years pass and these products will remain more or less intact; the worse part, however, is when they start clumping together.
Keep in mind that frequency of use has little to do with these problems. Some consumers have reported these issues after as little as three days, and need toilet repair or drain cleaning to remedy the situation.
- Toilet and plumbing clogs: because the fibers of these products aren't water soluble, they don't break down the way toilet paper does, quickly causing clumps and clogs in pipes.
- Increased utility bills: an increase in water usage, due to the clogs and clumps.
- Septic tank backups: when the wipes start to clump together, it creates a blockage in the septic tank, resulting in sludge backing up into the pipes
In 2013, a fatberg – a term used by sewer workers to describe monstrous lumps of oil, grease, and, you guessed it, flushable wipes – roughly the size of a bus was found in the sewers of London. There have been multiple cases of fatbergs of tremendous sizes being found, all over the world. The damage of these wipes isn't limited to public sewers, either.
Wet wipes pose a particular threat to older plumbing systems, but all it takes a single wipe getting caught in a pipe, to start your own personal fatberg. You may not notice the effects immediately, but many people have had to experience the frustration of clogged pipes, and toilet repair, and the problems that come with them. Regular drain cleaning can keep you from suffering, down the line.
Wet Wipes versus Toilet Paper
Flushable wipes may make you feel cleaner, but the truth is, toilet paper is all you need. Since it's inception in 1883, classic toilet paper has significantly improved personal hygiene across the globe, and even lowered the spread of diseases caused by fecal matter. For over one hundred years, everyone seemed pretty happy, with this.
Another mark in favor of traditional TP is that it doesn't damage your pipes. Toilet paper is water soluble, meaning it will break down in water – generally within twenty-four hours. As far as your plumbing, and sewers are concerned, toilet paper really is the only smart choice.
In what is commonly referred to as a 'slosh box text', manufacturers found that the wipes did dissolve. That seems like it would be a good thing, right? Not according to Cynthia Finley, director of regulatory affairs for the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. She said in the New York Times, “[The test is] a lot more turbulent than the flow that you find in a wastewater pipe.”.
The only way to get these wipes is to dissolve is to subject it to stronger waters than your plumbing could possibly provide.
Water Treatment Plants and Septic Tanks
Across the United States, several states are launching campaigns to keep citizens from flushing these supposedly flushable wipes, and not just because of the fatbergs piling up in sewer systems. In the last few years alone, New York has spent over $18 million in replacing the equipment of their water treatment plants, mostly due to wet wipes. The material gets caught in the turbines, often looking close to brand new when removed.
Water treatment plants aren't the only systems at risk, however. If you own a home with a septic tank, think twice before tossing one of those wet wipes into the toilet. Thousands of consumers have reported backed up septic tanks, and even tank failure, after flushing their wipes. When this happens, it's common to find a puddle of wastewater or sludge leaking of virtually every pipe in your home.
Lawsuits Against Manufacturers
After a New York man filed a class action lawsuit against a popular wet wipe manufacturer, over 100 people joined the suit.
The man claims that substantial damage was caused to his plumbing, after using the product, and that the company “should have known their representations of regarding flushable wipes were false and misleading.”.
How to Avoid the Damage
- Only flush soluble fibers down your toilet. Wet wipes aren't the only risk to your plumbing, but definitely one of the worst.
- If you notice a change in the way your pipes drain, such as a slowdown, or back up, call a plumber before the damage gets any worse.
- Remember that just because it says 'flushable' doesn't mean it is!
If you find yourself facing the havoc that wet wipes can wreak upon plumbing, and are in the Greenwood, IN area, call Johnson Heating & Cooling Inc., at (317) 881-7738, to get back on track.